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Why were so many smart members of FIRE so clueless about their careers?
Old 05-02-2013, 11:31 PM   #1
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Why were so many smart members of FIRE so clueless about their careers?

Something went south. A lot of you folks obviously studied hard, made all kinds of sacrifices, maybe even went to graduate school so you could work in your chosen profession. And, now, many of you are counting the days, months, years, or decades looking for the time you can quit the job you hate. Now, I understand that many of you just want to retire early to get on with your lives, but what about the others of you? What happened? What didnít you account for?
(Ah, duck, is this any way to make friends)?
And, maybe more importantly, how did I make this post green?
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Old 05-02-2013, 11:50 PM   #2
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Seems like we accounted for what we needed to. We accounted for the fact that you never know how you might feel later so financial independence allows you the freedom to quit or not when you want to. That more people do not quit does not indicate they were more aware of how much or little they would like their career 20 years later. Nor is it evidence of people liking their job. My guess from most statistics is the many if not most people would quit IF they could...and most cannot because,they were clueless on how to do it.
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Old 05-02-2013, 11:57 PM   #3
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I think it has more to do with the bucket analogy, and the BS that fills it. After a while, most people get fed up with the machinations of work and want to chill. maybe a greater sense of mortality as one gets older, also.
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:12 AM   #4
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Didn't account for how one might feel after doing the same job for 37 years. I don't hate my job at all, I'd just rather be doing something else now. Now if I had had the foresight to find a job where I could fish, golf, and travel 5 days or more days a week, and get well paid to do it, I'd still be looking forward to going to work each day. Now that I look at it, I should have been a politician.
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:13 AM   #5
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My main motivation for becoming a physician was that it would lead to FI. Seriously. If I could do some meaningful work along the way, so much the better. Having achieved FI, I began to critically evaluate and compare the BS bucket versus the good bucket and RE is the result.
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:16 AM   #6
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I always saw work as a means to an end. I chose to pursue studies leading to typically well-paid careers, I made sacrifices to maximize my earning potential, and I got exactly what I wanted in the end - a life free of time constraints.
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:34 AM   #7
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I don't hate my job. Sure there are good days and bad days and worse days and days when it's just boring but at the end of the day, I'd like to believe that RE isn't about running away from a job but moving towards something much better.

Since the numbers stacked up at least a year or two ago, I suppose your question is: why didn't I go sooner?

The short answer is that I worried too much about having to reduce our standard of living or look for a j*b later in life and fell victim to one-more-year syndrome. It's a pretty malignant condition. If allowed to run unchecked, it can end up taking years off the more enjoyable part of your life. Fortunately, taking regular doses of ER.org works wonders.

Five months to go.
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Old 05-03-2013, 01:15 AM   #8
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Right now I'm at the stage where I'm young and absolutely adore my job. I can travel as much as I want, work when I want, telecommute all the time. It's lovely. I'm just working towards FI for the freedom to always live this way, without ever worrying, and even if my business fails.

I'll talk to you again in 20 or 40 years after I've been in the workforce for a bit, but this is just coming from someone working towards ER while just starting in the working world. I don't want to give up the independence I have. Life is amazing when you can do what you want with it :P I'm with FIREd as a means to an end. I just don't want to do anything I don't feel like, ever.
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Old 05-03-2013, 01:24 AM   #9
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I do the work I do because I love the work. What I dislike is the company structure and some significant number of the other people involved. This has been a recurring theme. Even companies that were well structured and populated with wonderful colleagues change over the years and deteriorate. Rarely they improve. Usually they decay until they fail or exit the business.

I'll probably do similar work after I ER, but it will be for me or as a volunteer. I don't hate work. I hate clueless managers. I love good teams and good managers, but they seem hard to find and hard to keep.
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Old 05-03-2013, 01:59 AM   #10
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I like my job. To be fair my DW does not really like hers. Thoughts of ER really took place at the end of 2012 once our marginal tax rates went up to a point where we feel that it was not worth the effort to have the so much of an extra $ go to the government. That is why I want to op for semi-retirement first for a few years where our marginal tax rates would fall dramatically. I rather work less and make less as long I keep more of the money I earned. To be there I need to build up a solid NW which is in progress.
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Old 05-03-2013, 05:48 AM   #11
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OP: I infer from your phrasing that you are saying that our poor choice of careers is the reason that we want to retire early and that if we had just chosen better we would not be counting the days to ER.

Hogwash! Nothing went wrong, went south, etc. It was A-OK.

Additional comments:
I chose my career when I was young and stupid. I am much older and just as stupid now.
The career choice was a means to an end: earn a living, raise a family and provide for retirement. It worked for me. I enjoyed (most of) it.
I have been changing from the moment I was born, getting tired of working and becoming intolerant of BS is just one more change.
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Old 05-03-2013, 06:04 AM   #12
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I think this is interesting, it's not that I made a bad career decision rather once I set my focus on FIRE I did become inflexible. In hindsight there needed to be more balance between getting the most out of life right now and planning for the future. I had the opportunity to explore other options (career, lifestyle, etc) but once I got my eye on the prize (RE) I wouldn't pull the trigger on anything new and stayed in a career well past its use by date.

Now in RE I am trying to make up for that by being much more open to new things, so far I hate it, but DW isn't going to let me settle back into my old ways....LOL
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Old 05-03-2013, 06:30 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brett_Cameron View Post
OP: I infer from your phrasing that you are saying that our poor choice of careers is the reason that we want to retire early and that if we had just chosen better we would not be counting the days to ER.

Hogwash! Nothing went wrong, went south, etc. It was A-OK.

Additional comments:
I chose my career when I was young and stupid. I am much older and just as stupid now.
The career choice was a means to an end: earn a living, raise a family and provide for retirement. It worked for me. I enjoyed (most of) it.
I have been changing from the moment I was born, getting tired of working and becoming intolerant of BS is just one more change.
+1

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And, maybe more importantly, how did I make this post green?
You used alternative energy to power your computer?
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Old 05-03-2013, 06:33 AM   #14
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I enjoyed my job and my colleagues and clients, so I'm not sure how to respond. I REd because I was FI and decided that while I enjoyed work that I would enjoy having no constraints on my time even more.
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Old 05-03-2013, 06:41 AM   #15
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Simple answer: TPS reports. (See the movie Office Space if you don't know what this is.) I'd have been more likely to stay longer if my day wasn't dominated by doing TPS reports. The funniest part is being asked about being bored in retirement. How could I be any more bored than spending a day filling out TPS reports? I suspect a lot of people have their own version of TPS reports.
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Old 05-03-2013, 06:42 AM   #16
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I don't hate my job, and I'm glad I made this career choice. Rather there are 2 main factors:

1. I have far surpassed what I have expected to achieve, in both position and money. I am only 2 positions ways from the highest level a technical professional can achieve at my Megacorp and am getting paid *VERY* well. I have no desire to go further, primarily because the things I need to do to go further are not things I desire to do (e.g. 80-100% travel).

2. It is the quantity of things I must do for my job that gets to me at times. For example, right now I am managing or supporting 4 major projects. Each one of these projects want my full time participation. Each each one would benefit from that attention. If I could add several more team members, assign them to the projects and mentor them, they would be better covered. But Megacorp has cutback so much over the years that, although my management acknowledges the need, there is no way we are going to be able to increase the team size. So I have made the conscious decision to "cut back" from a 70-80 work week to a 45-50 hour work week.

I don't hate my Megacorp, there has been much more good than bad. I never thought cutting a class in college would lead to the career I have had. But I want to balance my career with the rest of my life, and with the financial means to do so its time to focus more on life outside of the career. Having given so much to my career - at times to the detriment of my family - I want to swing things the other way, particularly as the runway to the end of life gets shorter. Remember, no one says on their deathbed "I wish I'd spent more time in the office working on my career".
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Old 05-03-2013, 06:54 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brett_Cameron View Post
OP: I infer from your phrasing that you are saying that our poor choice of careers is the reason that we want to retire early and that if we had just chosen better we would not be counting the days to ER.

Hogwash! Nothing went wrong, went south, etc. It was A-OK.

Additional comments:
I chose my career when I was young and stupid. I am much older and just as stupid now.
The career choice was a means to an end: earn a living, raise a family and provide for retirement. It worked for me. I enjoyed (most of) it.
I have been changing from the moment I was born, getting tired of working and becoming intolerant of BS is just one more change.
+1
DW and I were about the same. We enjoyed much about our careers but other aspects were a PITA. We both always knew we would not want to work forever and planned for ER. By the time we left we were ready to retire. I suspect that if I had it to do over I would probably do something similar.

Many people counsel that you "find your passion" and then pursue a career in that field. I think that is great for those who achieve it but I doubt that most who try to succeed. Finding your passion is difficult enough in the first place and staying passionate about it over the long run is unlikely for most of us. It seems somewhat defeatist and pessimistic but I think insisting that work should be a passion seems like a fools errand for most. On the other hand, staying in a job you hate is a mistake in my opinion. OK for a brief period to achieve ER or while looking for alternative employment, but not for decades.
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Old 05-03-2013, 07:14 AM   #18
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Simple answer: TPS reports. (See the movie Office Space if you don't know what this is.) I'd have been more likely to stay longer if my day wasn't dominated by doing TPS reports. The funniest part is being asked about being bored in retirement. How could I be any more bored than spending a day filling out TPS reports? I suspect a lot of people have their own version of TPS reports.
+1! This is it right here, bureaucratic bs. You'll have it as part of a corporation, you'll have it if you run your own company. As rules change, it just gets bigger and bigger and...

The bucket is full, 361 days!
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Old 05-03-2013, 07:15 AM   #19
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Something went south. A lot of you folks obviously studied hard, made all kinds of sacrifices, maybe even went to graduate school so you could work in your chosen profession. And, now, many of you are counting the days, months, years, or decades looking for the time you can quit the job you hate. Now, I understand that many of you just want to retire early to get on with your lives, but what about the others of you? What happened? What didn’t you account for?
(Ah, duck, is this any way to make friends)?
And, maybe more importantly, how did I make this post green?

Interesting. I would say you got the question wrong. I wanted to be FI before I even went to college. I've always been a saver an understood early on the benefit of having a couple of bucks tucked away "just in case." Once I started working, sure I loved my job, but I still saved like crazy to get FI ASAP. It's not necessarily that the job is bad, but you have very little control of your time, or your situation if something bad happens (layoff, etc). Also, everything gets old over time and I think most of the people here understand that. FI gives you the opportunity to do something else. The FI vs BS bucket really paints a very good picture of this. Paid work in the corporate world has some job aspects that probably most enjoy, but it also comes with a huge BS component such as TPS reports, meetings, politics, etc.

So, I can't tell you what the correct question is, only that the answer is "42" <wink>
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Old 05-03-2013, 07:20 AM   #20
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Now, I understand that many of you just want to retire early to get on with your lives, but what about the others of you? What happened? What didnít you account for?
Priorities change, people change. I still remember the sense of independence from my first job pumping gas at a gas station, back when they were "service stations" (with actual service) instead of just gas stations and the owners hired high school kids to do the work.

It meant I could buy a motorcycle or car and have a set of wheels and the freedom that comes with that. It meant I could buy my own clothes, and take a girl out on a date without asking my parents for money - pointless, since they didn't have much anyway.

But I also knew that pumping gas was not what I was going to do for decades. It was just what I did during that phase of life. It was a great job during that phase. I had good friends at work and we'd go out for pizza or motorcycle rides after work Friday/Saturday nights when we didn't have school the next day.

My later career had all that going for it and more. There is of course the minor little detail of being self-supporting, that being a main priority for me. But I also wanted to do something interesting, variable, and changing, and that did not involve office cubicles. Police work filled that bill, and as a side benefit that I paid absolutely no attention to in my early 20's, came with a good retirement package. But police work is a young person's job and with rare exceptions anyone north of 50 should be moving out of it.

So I did. Just another phase of life.
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